The Georgetown men’s basketball team (10-6, 3-1 Big East) returns to action Wednesday night to play St. John’s (7-10, 0-4 Big East) at Madison Square Garden. Tip-off is set for 6:30 p.m., with the game televised on Fox Sports 1.
The Hoyas will look to win their fifth game in their last six tries when they meet the Red Storm. In the Hoyas’ last game, a 74-63 win over DePaul, the Blue and Gray scored 46 second-half points after facing a 30-28 halftime deficit. Senior guard D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera led the way for the Hoyas with 17 points and a career-high eight assists. The Indianapolis native earned himself a selection to the Big East Weekly Honor Roll for his play last week, his third selection this season.
The Johnnies, led by first-year Head Coach Chris Mullin, enter Tuesday having lost seven consecutive games, including an 81-75 loss at Marquette in their most recent contest this past Saturday. Freshman guard Federico Mussini paces the Red Storm, averaging 12.9 points and 2.6 assists per game. Senior forward Durand Johnson, a transfer from Pittsburgh, adds additional firepower off the bench, averaging 11.9 points per game.
The Red Storm will be without freshman center Yankuba Sima, who broke his hand in the team’s loss to Xavier last week, for the second-straight game. The 6-10 Spaniard was the team’s leading rebounder, 6.8 per game, and shot blocker, 3.1 per game, before suffering the injury that will force him out for four to six weeks.
With St. John’s struggling, and a home matchup with No. 6 Villanova looming on Saturday, it would be easy for the Hoyas to overlook the Johnnies. Georgetown Head Coach John Thompson III hopes his team doesn’t repeat the same mistake he felt it made in an earlier situation this season, when the Hoyas lost their season-opener to Radford just a few days before facing No. 3 Maryland.
“Point to ourselves,” said Thompson. “Lord knows I hope we have learned that lesson this year if nothing else. I don’t think, and I sure pray, that no one in that gym is thinking about Saturday. Our history has shown that all of energy has to be in the here and now. And I think we are.
Smith-Rivera assured the media that the Hoyas will be ready for Wednesday night. With all the history between two of the founding members of the Big East, it’s hard not to.
“They’re one of our biggest rivalries. You can never overlook a conference game,” said Smith-Rivera. “It will definitely be a tough one.”